Location: Forests west of Rilan
Date: Late Dacal, 1333 Avard
The ran hard on tired legs all the way to Rilan. Upon arrival on Galgiran's Day, Mara went to get as many items blessed by the priests as she could. Gruck slept, and Beth carved on her darkwood staff.
Eingrim went to Lok Magius with Wellby, and after explaining the situation to the ArciMagus, obtained enchanted horseshoes enough for a team. Eingrim's original request for a roc-hawke was denied; shadows turning one of those giant beasts would have been a disaster. Wellby managed to inadvertently steal one of the teleport keys of the Silver Gauntlet.
Mara's warhorse Lady had finally given birth, and after finding a dam to nurse the foal, was prepared for adventure. Four other horses were purchased, as was a pony for the shorter Wellby. All six horses were outfitted with enchanted horseshoes, and supplies and equipment quickly purchased for the return trip back to Thalessa's farm hold.
After getting the horses used to walking on water across the River Galanus, the team made extraordinary time, traveling at night as quickly as they could for the farm hold. An hour before dawn, they were ambushed. The shadows knew exactly where to hit them – almost as though they knew where the party was.
The battle was horrendous, and Eingrim nearly died. The party raced on into the dawn, and then headed for a hunting cabin near the valley. Michael, Thalessa's man-at-arms for the farm hold, helped guide them to the rest of the families and children – ten adults and thirteen children. They told of a terrible flying ship of darkness that had dropped in on them in the night. Thalessa had sensed the ship before it arrived, getting all of them out in time. She, however, had apparently fought valiantly in the cellar shrine – and that was the last anyone saw of her.
Worried about the shadows returning at night, Mara led them to a known safe haven not far away, where the blessed land would keep the shadows at bay, even at night. Whether an old druid grove, or an ancient angel's resting place, no one knew how the place came to be such hallowed ground, but it would protect the people and children of Thalessa's farm hold while the others dealt with the shadows.
Eingrim, out of desperation, began using divination spells – magical detections, insights, and auguries. He found that the winter wolf pup Silver was possessed! They restrained him, while Wellby found a way to damage the demon without killing Silver. The demon was forced out of Silver, and Beth captured it in a hastily-emptied vial.
Eingrim had also sent for clerics, but they would be days arriving. The team, free of their demonic spy, raced to find the clerics out of Lok Giran. Upon finding them, they quickly transferred the grumpy dwarves to horses and sped back to the farm hold. With only an hour's worth of light left, the clerics set to work. Their first task was to unload a blanket full of silvered and enchanted weapons, handing them out to whomever would use them. Their second task was to banish the undead – with prayers, or with burning hammers. Their third task was to bless the forge, creating a safe haven against the undead, should they return.
Once the farm hold was secure, the dwarves took their time to spruce things up, make repairs, and ensure the place was safe and clean for the return of the occupants. While they did that, the team went for the sacred hollow. At dawn the next day, four families headed home, expecting to find broken beds and burning buildings. Instead, they had a feast already prepared, and the sacred glow of a dwarven forge.
Mara and Wellby realized that, with Thalessa gone, their place was with the families of her farm hold. They bid a tearful goodbye to Eingrim, who worked up the courage to give Mara a kiss on the cheek, before leaving.
The team had to move quickly, to make it to Rilan before the Freeze set in. With their enchanted horses, they and the dwarves rode through the night, arriving in Rilan on the last days of Dacal in 1333.
Deep in the well, the missing rune stones glittered – as did Thalessa's ogran cut ruby.
DM's Notes: Caileb and Sualy are enjoying having a DM, again, for the first time in too long. They're coming to me almost every week with a new character idea, and chomping at the bit to play two more in the pipes. We'll see how often they change characters. These might all turn into One Shots.
None to date.